SPRINGTIME RIDE: The allure of seeing a horse roaming in the wild never loses its appeal. Never. Though we love our domesticated ponies and going on ranch rides, going out into nature and possibly spying a mustang or loping burro, out among the trees, tickles the heart. Add wildflowers and springtime sunshine into the mix and it is just about the perfect outing for the equine aficionado (and the botanical aficionado, too). Wild Horse Sanctuary, which is located in Shingletown (which is about a half hour east of Redding), is dedicated to helping roaming ponies and taking people who love those roamers a chance to see them out in nature. The Sanctuary is preparing to kick off its 2012 season with a "Wildflowers and Wild Horses" ride on Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29.
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WILD HORSE HISTORY: The story behind the sanctuary is a moving one; some 80 wild horses were set to be "destroyed" (the ponies were trotting about on public land); the founders rescued them and created a safe haven in which they could run around all they liked. There are trail rides throughout the warmer months but the first one of the season is always special. One? It's the first one, so fans can't wait to get out, ride, and see the animals they love. And two? It is quite flowery in late April. Prepare for breezy, pretty vistas and a mellow wander-about through a nice slice of northern California. Cost is $435 for the two-day jaunt. (We'll also mention the rides, regardless of time of year, book up; there's already a waiting list going for Memorial Day Weekend.)